|Posted by Ally Tucker on January 8, 2012 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on January 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
As many of you know, I recently left the nest for the first time in 22 years and moved from Lexington to Chicago to get me some more of that education stuff. You can imagine the anxieties I experienced associated with moving- making friends, living without my parents' purse strings, and cooking for myself without burning the apartment down- but one constant source of impending depression was the realization that I would no longer be living in the nation's college basketball mecca.
Being a lifelong Lexingtonian, I was spoiled by my easy access to obscure television channels showing the game, scintillating Herald-Leader sports articles by Jerry Tipton, copius tailgating, and the completely unique and (mostly) memorable experience of being a 21 year old during a UK Final Four run. My good friend Ally once paid me the best compliment of my life when she told me I am more "more Kentucky" than anyone else she knows. What on earth would I do in Chicago, where pro sports rule the landscape and no one else has the WBA's YouTube channel bookmarked?
Well, I started small- I found the local UK alumni bar and went for a football game.
Folks, I present The Pony, home of a mean Bloody Mary and a 14 inch grilled cheese appropriately dubbed "The Clydesdale." Since my first visit there in October, I have returned multiple times and- get this- seen someone I know EVERY SINGLE TIME. Whether they actually live in the city or are just visiting for the weekend, it's comforting and exciting to realize that the UK fan base isn't limited to the Bluegrass State. Drew Franklin can wax poetic about Jack Dempsey's in NYC all he wants, but I dare him to come experience The Pony's friendly yet frantic UK lovin' atmosphere and tell me it doesn't remind him of Two Keys on gameday.
Now, being in a different time zone from the Cats has both its pros and cons. Pro: Late night games are earlier, meaning I can get to bed at a decent hour (I'm only 22 years old, I swear). Con: Early games are earlier, meaning an 11 am tipoff is a regular occurence. Pro: For these 11 am games (see especially: UNC and UL basketball games), The Pony offers a two hour, $15 All You Can Eat Breakfast Buffet, complete with bottomless mimosas and certain draft beers. For the UL game, my friends and I got there at 9:05 am and got the last seats in the house- at the bar. That's the kind of dedication I would expect in Lexington, and nowhere else.
Other evidence that BBN likes the Windy City? The evening of the UK-UNC game, I was at a random bar in Chicago. Across the room, I made eye contact with a guy wearing a UK sweatshirt. Three goggles were exchanged, leading to a shared bourbon shot and a recap of the day's glory. If that's not magic, I don't know what is. UL fans would have just sized up each other's flat bills and continued sipping Crown Royale from their respective corners.
Oh, and speaking of the three goggles- they are rapidly becoming one of my go-to barometers for judging potential Chicago friends. I decided I liked the DJ at my New Year's Eve party because he obligingly threw up the three goggles. Potential dance partners that night were considered based on if they would perform the gesture. Other ways I know I can be friends with someone in Chicago? If we can have a heart-to-heart about where we were during that one game in 1992; if we share similar concerns about the health of MKG's mom; and if we can coordinate a victory dance routine integrating the John Wall and the Wobble.
Of course, every now and then my transplanted UK fandom hits a road bump. There have been several times I've been on the subway in a UK t-shirt, only to have some nasally-accented smart-mouth cheekily inform me that Calipari is a cheater or that Terrence Jones is way overrated. Luckily, years of living in Lexington have given me more informed rebuttals than Calipari has favorite Orange Leaf toppings.
Kristen Geil says SHUT UP.
Also, after spending nearly six months in Chicago, I'm a little disappointed that UK doesn't play more away games in the area. Considering that Calipari has a solid recruiting history in the city and a close relationship with Bulls' player Derrick Rose, I'd expect him to schedule a game at the United Center's "Madhouse on Madison." I have no doubt that our fans would love a road trip to Chicago and would fill the arena for the occassion. So Jay-Z and Drake have been to Lexington? I bet you anything Kanye West would come to a UK game in Chicago, if for no other reason than to one-up HOVA. Not to mention, NBA scouts would love it as well.
So, even though I have pledged to myself I will quit real life for a week and return to Lexington if (when) UK gets to the Final Four this year, being temporarily separated from the madness isn't as bad as I expected. In fact, being passionate about UK basketball has helped me adjust to life in Chicago while greatly increasing my appreciation for my hometown. For the next year and a half I live here, I will consider myself UK's Official Ambassador to Chicago, and wear my UK gear with pride. If you happen to be in the city and spot me on the street, throw up your three goggles and we'll bond. See you in March, Lexington.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on December 22, 2011 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
Happy Holidays everyone! To say the least, 2011 has been eventful & exciting in our La Familia here at the University of Kentucky. We have had some significant changes in our lives this year, saying goodbye to some of our family members while also welcoming in some new family members as well.
We had a very difficult pregnancy with little Marquis. He almost didn't make it. Sure enough though, when the stork dropped him off on our doorstep instead of the doorstep of Porcini's, we were very excited to see our new little bundle of joy.
Marquis is currently experiencing some of the pains that come with teething, but he is slowly but surely turning the corner and making us proud parents instead of causing us to lose sleep and want to rip our hair out after each
turnover contested 3-pointer incoming tooth.
One of our other new family members, worried us a bit before he arrived as well. When we got the ultra-sound pictures we quickly panicked as any young parents would when we only saw one eyebrow instead of two. The doctors assured us that this was not a critical issue in his development moving forward. He has really excelled since coming home. He loves all of his toys but he has shown a preference for blocks. All little Anthony Davis does all day: blocks, blocks, blocks. He also enjoys playing with his brothers, but they get angry because everytime they try to hand him one of their toys to share with him, he promptly swats it in the other direction. We are sure that he will learn to share in time. He could stand to gain a little bit of weight too...
We have included a picture of baby Anthony's ultrasound!
People keep asking us if little Kyle came from the Milk Man, seeing as he really doesn't resemble anyone else in our family. Kyle worries at times, but we tell him that if anyone gives him any trouble or picks on him for being different, he just needs to learn to
defend himself DEFEND. Point. Blank. End. Of. Story.
Another one of our boys, little Doron, seemed to be having some issues with his vision in school. We finally got him to the eye doctor and they were able to fit him with a pair of glasses with a special prescription lense...
You would be amazed at how much better he can see now! He doesn't even have to wear both lenses anymore!
We took a family vacation a few weeks ago in Uncasville, Connecticut. They had a great casino there! The company wasn't the greatest, but the boys did come back with a little souvenir.
Our boy Enes finally got out of jail after a year!
We wanted to take a moment to personally thank all of our closest friends, church and family for all of the continuing support you gave him during his imprisonment. We will never forget you guys! #LaFamilia
Little Brandon made the honor roll.....AGAIN.
If everyone could just take a quick break from reading the rest of this letter for a minute to pray for our Uncle Chuck. He has fallen a bit ill recently and needs all of your prayers and strength. We heard that he is making a quick recovery, but still...we wish him a year of perfect health!
We had a family reunion this summer. What a blast it was to have everyone back in the same room, sharing stories, swapping trading cards and giving each other shout outs on Twitter. Funny enough, we had like 3 or 4 more reunions just a few weeks later as well. We will probably have another one next summer...hell, maybe we'll have 6 or 7. It was great to have all the guys back around so much...
Speaking of family....Grandma's still got it...
Shhhh....don't tell anyone but little Mikey is our favorite child. He is just perfect in every single way. Honestly, he can do no wrong. We love his every move. He has even been lending a hand to La Familia by getting the other kids up for breakfast every morning and making sure they get fed. He calls it the "Breakfast Club." Such a little angel, that Michael!
Our pride and joy last year, little Joshua, has moved on to take a new job in the Big Apple of all places! The last we heard from him, he was in talks with an agent to have his own reality tv show titled "Fountain of Fun." We don't get much mail from him, but occasionally we still receive mail FOR him. Last March, for example, Jared Sullinger sent him a letter. The only thing enclosed in the envelope was his dignity.
Oh, and we can't leave out the family pet...our little centaur, Eloy. Eloy has really been making major strides in his coordination, even picking up a few new tricks since last year. We find that this year we don't have to yell "NOOOOOOO!" quite so much at him.
All in all, 2011 has been a great year for us here at the Univeristy of Kentucky. We hope that 2011 has been just as great for the rest of the #BBN. Please remember to enjoy the ride, check out my website CoachCal.Com, try a cup of the holiday flavors at Orange Leaf and Bounce Back from any of your shortcomings!
P.s. Pray for sweet Terrence. He has lost his way. And apparently his chin as well.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on December 16, 2011 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Ally Tucker on December 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM||comments (0)|
If you are not a Kentucky basketball fan, perhaps you should just go ahead and save yourself 5 minutes of aggression and stop reading this blog entry now. If you already think Kentucky basketball fans are annoying and cocky, this blog entry will do absolutely nothing to help convince you otherwise. If you continue to read, don't say that I didn't warn you....
Today at 5:15 (let's be honest, 5:30...those predicted times for tip-off are always wrong) the University of Kentucky takes on the Hoosiers of Indiana University. Thanks to Kelvin Sampson, red heads who can only shoot 3s and due to the fact that anyone with a zest for life and beautiful scenery would never choose to live in Indiana (even if only for 4 years of college)... the rivalry between Kentucky and Indiana just isn't what it used to be. Kentucky basketball has consistently been a top 10 program for as long as basketballs have been bouncing (the Billy G years no longer count. I can't remember them and neither can Billy G, but probably due to different reasons). Indiana basketball had a great run in the 70's and 80's, with a few good teams sprinkled in since then. For the past 4 years though, Indiana basketball has been a complete non-factor in the world of college basketball.
How can Indiana basketball be summed up today, heading into a match-up with Kentucky? In the words of the mediocre Toby Keith, "I ain't as good as I once was..."
I've decided to try to compare Kentucky basketball with Indiana basketball as it stands right now, today. WIthout further ado, using mostly pictures, sarcasm and my 150+ wpm typing ability....here is my comparison of Kentucky basketball and Indiana basketball. See ya at 5:15 5:30, Hoosiers. Cats by 49. You heard it here first.
Kentucky is quite possibly the most recognizable name in college basketball RIGHT NOW. After her famous wedding, watched by millions across the world this summer, Kate Middleton is probably one of the most recognizable faces in the world today.
Pippa Middleton, a few weeks after the big wedding.
She looks kind of average in that picture, eh? That's the real Pippa Middleton. Sure, she's no dog...don't get me wrong. But for about 48 hours during and after the Royal Wedding, she was the talk of the town. She looked beautiful in her maid of honor duds. But now, after the dust has settled, she is what she is: just your average gal. Indiana basketball signed Cody Zeller, a top 15 rated recruit coming out of high school, last year. So far this season, Indiana is undefeated. On paper, they look like a team re-born. The truth of the matter is, they haven't played anybody. Their best win is over a 5-2 N.C. State team who is not even ranked. Indiana basketball will get Pippa-ed today when they play Kentucky. Everyone will realize that those beginning of the season wins were a bit of an illusion. Take off the pretty dress like Pippa did, or in Indiana's case-- actually play teams with a chance of making the NCAA tournament, and the truth will come out.
Pop-tarts are the original toaster treat. Everyone has tried one. I fully suspect that Pop-tarts will continue to be a popular and recognizable breakfast treat for many years to come. Soon after the glory of the pop-tart though, other posers started to come around....
A Toaster Strudel.
Sometime after the popularity of the pop-tart, along came the Toaster Strudel. The Toaster Strudel seemed to honestly think that it could take it's place in breakfast history by knocking the pop-tart off of the top spot (think Indiana basketball in the 80's). For a brief moment, the Toaster Strudel seemed to make a legitimate push into the households of many Americans. Eventually though, everyone realized that Toaster Strudels were nothing more than "pop-tart posers." They were decent, but not as high quality as a pop-tart. I mean have you ever had a slightly over-cooked strudel? UGH. So flimsy and soggy. Have you ever had more strudels in a pack than icing packs? Yeah, me too. No matter how hard the Strudel tries, and it may make a comeback every now and then for like a week or two in your household, you eventually always go back to the pop-tart.
Simon Cowell was the original hard ass judge on the tv show American Idol, back when the show was THE PREMIER REALITY SINGING TV SHOW. Sure, Randy and Paula were recognizable and somewhat popular, but Simon and his brutally honest and harsh comments were what made the show what it was. When Simon took his asshole comments away from American Idol, the show went down hill...fast. I'm not even sure who hosts the show anymore but when I looked it up on google it said J.Lo and that old guy from Aerosmith were the hosts, I thought it was a typo. When American Idol was in it's prime with Cowell, other reality tv singing shows were nothing more than "awful Idol knock offs." When Cowell left Idol, the other shows began to creep up and start to gain some popularity. Much like when Kentucky basketball fell off a little bit in the last few years of the Tubby era and the first two only two years of the Billy G era, other schools began to creep up in relevance in the world of college basketball. (You're welcome Syracuse, Michigan State, Ohio State, etc). Now that Cowell is back with another tv show called "The X Factor," which I hear is becoming the hit show once again, the other judges on other reality singing/talent competitions are starting to look idiotic again...
The Judges of all the other mediocre reality tv/singing shows.
Just look at them. Don't listen to them or watch them. It's not worth the misery, although Adam Levine is a bad, bad (and by bad I mean good) man.
Pacey Whitter from Dawson's Creek.
Let's all be honest...although Dawson got his name in the show's title, Pacey was clearly the leading man that everyone loved on the hit melo-drama "Dawson's Creek." Pacey was a little edgy. He was a risk-taker and a far more interesting character than Dawson. Kentucky basketball is on the cutting edge of the college basketball world. Coach Cal has the team running one of the most risky and exciting offenses in the country. They are fun to watch. Kentucky is edgy. Oh, and did I mention that Pacey always gets the girl? And by THE GIRL, I mean Joey Potter (Kate Holmes, pre-Tom Cruise brainwashing). Dawson may have courted her for years, creeping into her window and almost stalking her at times. But guess who swooped in at the last minute and got the grand prize? You guessed it...Pacey. Coach Cal is the same way with recruits. Indiana may think they have put in the hard work and time with top-level talent like Marquis Teague, but in the end...Coach Cal always gets the Girl Blue Chip Recruit.
Borrrrrrrrring. Dawson was easily the most boring and annoying leading man of all time. His hair was gross and out-dated, much like Indiana's candy-striped warm-up pants. He always played by the rules and seemed to do things "the right way" but what did it get him in the end? I think he finally wrote a screenplay and had a movie made or something like that. I guess Indiana could say the same about that Hoosiers movie or whatever... Watching Indiana basketball is similar to watching paint dry, which is similar to watching Dawson Leery cry. (Did you see what I did there?)
A Las Vegas Show.
If you want to see a real show, with all the bells and whistles and lights-- you got to Las Vegas. If you want to see a real show in college basketball, you go to Rupp Arena....
A Branson, Missouri show.
If you want to see a show that ends by 5:00 p.m. so you can be sure to eat your high-fiber snack and take your Metamucil before bedtime, go see a show in Branson, Missouri. If you want to see a few 3-pointers by 5'10 white guys, bank shots and reverse lay-ups...go watch a college basketball game in Assembly Hall (Indiana's arena...did you even know that was the name? Probably not).
|Posted by Kristen Geil on November 30, 2011 at 1:15 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on November 19, 2011 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Because I really enjoy making playlists, mix CDs, and lists in general, I've decided to put my day off to good use and create the ultimate mix CD defining UK basketball this season. I don't think it requires much more introduction than that.
1. All I Do Is Win- self explanatory. One of my favorite moments from the season last year was going to a game with my mom and having her join in when the eRUPPtion zone's "hands go UP... and they stay there."
Wait, just remembered a better moment- when UK beat UNC to go to the Final Four and Tin Roof erupted in a beer shower while playing this song. Did I dance on a bartop? I can neither confirm nor deny.
2. Coming Home- I think half of Lexington is with me when I say I teared up during this song at the Dominican Republic-Kentucky Pros game. Tayshaun Prince, if I recall correctly, was crying too. The most precious, sentimental player introduction of all time.
3. Ice Cream Paint Job- Was there ever a more iconic moment than when John Wall was introduced to BBN with his signature dance move? I have John Walled in numerous locations all over the globe, and each time I have had someone come up to me and strike up a conversation about basketball. John Wall is the key to world peace.
4. I'm a King- AKA The Anthem of John Calipari. "I'm a king - top topic of all of your magazines. I'm a king - head of the body, leader of the team. I'm a king - remember I can get your block knocked off. I'm a king - a Bentley coupe with the top chopped off. I'm a king - I'm connectin nationwide but in the South. I'm a king - just respect it and keep my name out'cha mouth."
I can't help but wonder if TI wrote this song especially for Cal.
5. N***** in Paris- Ball so hard, NCAA wants to fine us. Also used in player introductions.
6. Right Above It- "Wildcat offense, check the paw prints"
7. On to the Next One- For tournament time.
8. Move, B****- Because I have this poster staring at me in the face...
and I'm scared the UK women's basketball team is going to beat me up if I don't include them.
9. Man of Constant Sorrow- Does this song better apply to Billy Gillespie or Joker Phillips? I can't decide...
10. Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)- The anthem of the newfound White Boy Academy.
Who are these fine young men? The Caucasian Sensations of the men's basketball team, masters of trick shots and all around heartbreakers. Watch these videos and see if you don't agree.
11. Baby- Jared Polson's personal theme song. Sweet baby Polson.
12. I Love Trash- Besides the uncanny resemblance and hankering for unibrows, Anthony Davis and Oscar share a love for trash. Although in Davis's case, he prefers to keep the garbage away from the rim. Ba-doom-cchh.
Other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section! Please note, however, that I purposefully did not include Terrence Jones and his Teach Me Bout Kentucky song. I think we can all agree he doesn't need to quit his day job.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on November 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Ally Tucker on September 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM||comments (1)|
Check. Check. 1, 2. Check...1, 2, 3....is this thing on?
You know it has been WAYYYYYYY too long since you've blogged when you can't even remember your password to sign in to the website. My bad readers, my bad. I can promise you though that both myself and fellow blogger Kristen Geil are ready to jump back in head first to this thing. Be ready to be completely blogged down (punny, right?) with posts on the reg.
What have I been up to in the past month while not blogging? Well, a lot. But most importantly, I have been creating a Fantasy Football League. The league is not quite like the others you have probably heard of, full of a bunch of football experts & fanatics. This league was specifically created for those who do not typically join such leagues. This is a league for the people have always wondered "what exactly is fantasy football?" To give you an example of how random this league is, it includes: My college soccer coach, Kristen Geil's Mom, my cousin who hates all things sports-related and my childhood neighbor who I haven't seen in over 12 years.
With all the hype surrounding the league leading up to our live draft (not to be confused with the Tucker's Tales Life Draft...which will resume again one day...maybe), I have been doing a lot of thinking about who I might pick for my Fantasy Football Team. I'm not talking about NFL players either...I'm talking about FANTASY, as in, could never really happen. Not quite Ludacris "What's Your Fantasy" style fantasy--but maybe more like Mariah Carey's "Fantasy."
The top prospects for my FANTASY Football Team?....
Tim Riggins. Mmmmm baby, baby. I love to love Tim Riggins. Tim Riggins was the troubled soul/hard hitting linebacker on the Dillon Panthers. Who are the Dillon Panthers you might ask? Go to Netflix and start watching Season 1 of Friday Night Lights. You will not be disappointed.
In my perfect Fantasy Football League, not only is Tim Riggins and his 6-pack (stomach and Bud Heavy...cuz that's how Tim Riggins rolls) , aviator glasses, almost greasy hair and bad ass attitude....on my team, but he also makes out with me during halftime of each game. Hey, it's my team...my fantasy. Tim Riggins, come on down.
While on the theme of Dillon Panthers....might as well pick up a soft-spoken Quarterback while I'm at it....
Has a more precious little quarterback ever existed? His boyish charm and good looks, his dimples, his accent. He's cuter than a box of buttons. And he's as sweet as a Peep. His quarterback skills are somewhat debatable, but he rose to the challenge and led the Dillon Panthers to a state championship. Not to mention that he managed to snag the head coach's daughter. That adds a little spice to the shy boy's game.
Oh, did I mention that he also takes care of his grandma who suffers from Dementia? Don't even try to tell me that this guy doesn't have character.
I'm not done picking off the Dillon Panthers one by one just yet. I might as well steal their coach while I'm at it. And his aviator-wearing (see a theme here in Dillon, Texas?) wifey.
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."
That's just one example of the many gems that Coach Taylor can throw out in a locker room to get his team ready to go to battle. The man is scary. Seriously, flat out scary. When he purses his lips, puts his hands on his hips and begins to speak---you listen. I expect Coach Taylor to lead me to a few Fantasy Football titles....
He's not just a fighter though...he's a lover too. Best TV husband/wife duo of all time...
So now that I've picked up a coach and a few other position players, it's time to go for the meat of the line-up. I need some bulk on my front line....
I haven't decided exactly where I will play Precious....but I can promise you that she probably won't be our kicker.
Every team needs a "feel good story" type of player. I know who I want mine to be...
Go ahead and start chanting now...
Rudy won't help us win many games but he'll get us a lot of press on ESPN. Everyone loves an underdog type of story. Thanks in advance Rudiger.
I can't really take credit for the next pick....Kristen Geil brought her back into my memory, but she is certainly a big time Fantasy Football Prospect...
Becky "the Icebox" O'Shea
You don't want none of that.....
And if we wanna keep the old Icebox happy, we better bring along her boo too. I don't even remember his name but we'll take him too.
The Ice Box's Bitch
We already have one QB prospect, but let's be honest...Matt Saracen is more of a back up QB to use during a "bye week." I'm sure as hell not picking Dawson Leery James Van der Beek's character from Varsity Blues...
Instead, I'm going to go with a sleeper pick....
Remember him from Remember the Titans? So what if he may also "play for the other team?" The dude can throw the ball a mile. I'll take him.
If we are going to pluck from the Remember the Titans crew, might as well go with the dynamic duo as well...
Bertier & Julius...
"LEFT SIIIIIIIIIDE.....STRONG SIIIIIIIIDE."
"Attitude reflect leadership, cap'n."
Time for me to pick a stud running back. Easiest pick of the draft...
Forest, Forest Gump.
Runs fah dayz....
And with the least obvious choice of the draft....
If we need some good players to fill out the roster, we'll just get Sandra to drive around on the "wrong side of the tracks" for a couple of hours and adopt us some more players. Thanks in advance, Sandy.
Oh, and if the fellas get out of line...we'll just let her walk up during the middle of practice in her heels and yell at them. NBD.
And last but not least....we can't forget to get an equipment manager.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on July 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
Just when you thought we were done with our World Cup coverage here on Tucker's Tales.....well, we're not! Guest blogger Cole Adams has come around for Round 2 and we are thrilled to have her.
"Coping With A Loss"
By Cole Adams
Good evening. My name is Cole and I am a bad loser.
I trace my sore loser roots to my development as a tater tot and a treacherous deed committed by my father. You’ll see that Steve-O, my dad, was my chief and I was his little Indian. Nonetheless, he betrayed me.
For approximately a year, I was the World’s #1 ranked Candy Land competitor. From 1986-1987, I was undefeated. The final violet square on the board waited for me like a beacon in the night and the king of Candy Land never stayed lost for long. For a shining moment, I was a Candy Land hustler. Until one tragic evening when my chief, Steve-O, decided it was time for me to learn to play by the rules . . . The EFFIN RULES!!! Long story short: My mom had to physically restrain her flaxen haired angel to quell the screaming and possible attempts to slit her father’s throat with Candy Land playing cards.
That day left a remarkably bitter taste in my mouth. I now loathe losing and also deplore the idea of someone “letting” me win. A casual game of Slap Jack can turn into a bloodsport in a heartbeat. I haven’t learned a new game in years. It’s not safe. I will go Anton Chigurh (Google it.) on whoever is teaching me euchre, darts, or whatever nonsense someone thinks would be “fun” to play. If I’m not a prodigy, I hate it.
I was the kid on your 5 and 6-year old t-ball team who kept score (even though there wasn’t a scoreboard). If my coach made the grave mistake of calling us winners when we weren’t, I made sure the whole team knew about it. Without reservation I would turn a Capri Sun and granola bar from sweet to bitter by telling my teammates we lost 21-3 . . . to the chunky team. As a 6 and under swim team member, I wanted to swim fast enough to finish my lap and get out of the water to taunt the person who came in second. Not making it to my taunting position in time was, in effect, a loss. Do you see the start of a problem?
Although I haven’t been able to conquer my “losing demons,” I have sifted through some coping mechanisms over the last 25 years. In the wake of the US Women’s National Team’s tough loss to Japan Sunday, I felt I might share some of my tips with you.
You may have heard of the Kübler-Ross model. It’s more commonly known as the 5-Stages of Grief. It was intended for use when individuals were confronted with death and dying. I use it to handle sports failures. Tacky? Inappropriate? Overkill? Ridiculous? Useful? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, Yes.
Stage 1: Denial.
When I worked for the Department of Public Advocacy (if you couldn’t afford an attorney in a few counties in South Central KY, I could have been the lawyer provided to you), I discovered the champions of denial. My clients. Nothing could shake them from their bizarre fantasy worlds. Did I just get indicted? Nope. If I don’t open the envelope with my Criminal Summons in it, it never happened. Do I have a warrant out on me? Nope. If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. FYI, a warrant is like the wind . . . you may not see it, but you’ll feel it knock you on your ass.
On Sunday, I used a few different tactics to embrace denial. I paused the game after we kicked our 3rd PK, deleted all evidence of World Cup coverage from my DVR, and went outside to stare at the sun for a while. After 15 minutes and a couple singed retinas, there wasn’t a shred of proof in my house that the World Cup happened and I couldn’t see it if it did.
Stage 2: Anger
After a UK loss, I like to wallow in my rage for a little bit. In particular, I like to hate on Doug Gottlieb, Seth Davis, and Bobby Knight. Why? Because they’ll talk trash about my Cats the next time someone let’s them have a few seconds of air time and I consider my anger a preemptive strike. If all else fails, pull out your trump card and disparage Joakim Noah. I don’t even think his own mom likes him.
Unfortunately, I was so heartbroken after the game Sunday that I couldn’t muster an ounce of rage. My soul was crushed, so I moved on to the next stage.
Note: I am not a mental health professional. I am relatively certain some sorority sisters tried to perform an intervention or two on me my senior year at Transy; so, if anything, I am probably in need of mental healthcare. However, Wikipedia tells me I don’t have to transition through the stages of grief in chronological order. That’s awesome because I don’t think my fragile spirit could handle being a failure at grieving appropriately.
Stage 4: Depression
Time to get your sad on. I like to call this the blackout stage. You can take one of three approaches (or combine them if you’re brave):
1. Blackout Drunk: Grab a brick of Mad Dog, a case of Natty Ice (if you’re Sarah Burns or Jen Hamblin), or some Popov. Download some sad country songs, My Old Kentucky Home, and/or a dreadfully slow version of the Star Spangled Banner. Drink, sing, and sob. When you do all three to excess, you’ll have bigger things to worry about in the morning than your team losing such as:
• Where am I?
• Ouch. Is that my liver throbbing?
• Has anyone seen my sense of dignity?
2. Media Blackout: When I wake up in the morning, I turn on SportsCenter. At work, I watch Mike and Mike in the Morning. When I head home for lunch, I listen to the Scott Van Pelt Show. I keep KSR open in a window on my desktop to refresh throughout the day. When your favorite team suffers a monumental loss which will be covered by all of your favorite media outlets, it’s time to enforce the blackout. You can either keep functioning as normal and feel like your toenails are being ripped out one by one every time coverage of the loss comes up OR you can go on a sports hiatus. After the UK loss to UConn, the wide world of sports was cut off from me (by me) until Derby Day. For safe measure, I also stayed out of sports bars . . . like I really needed to break down crying over a basket of boneless wings in BW3s when Kemba Walker’s highlight reel played. Strangely, I actually worked at work. Damn media blackout.
3. Distraction Blackout: In the real world, hot button topics include things like abortion, marriage equality, and healthcare. In the world of Tucker’s Tales, Harry Potter is a hot button issue. My husband-roommate utilized the distraction technique to soothe himself after Sunday’s loss. He took me to see his homeboy, Harry Potter. For two hours, Mark was at Hogwart’s and Japan couldn’t touch me. Although I don’t care one way or another about an odd boy with a rad scar on his head, Harry Potter worked as a distraction for me, as well. I spent two hours trying to remember what the hell a horcrux was, wondering if I gave a damn if any of the characters died, and imagining what a badass wizard I would make. When I was done daydreaming, the movie worked as a double distraction . . . People were so busy watching Harry that they couldn’t see tears softly falling from behind my 3D glasses or hear me whimpering over the sounds of wizards wanding. I was able to mourn the loss in peace without gawkers.
Stage 3: Bargaining
I think for people who actually use these steps to cope with the dying process, this is a tough stage. Folks ask questions like, “Is there something I can do for more time?” or “How can stop this from happening?” For me, this is actually the easiest of the grieving steps. It’s like playing a sports-related game of creepy hypotheticals:
• Would you name your first child Adolph if UK could surpass UCLA in national championships and remain on top of that list for your lifetime? Yes. No doubt.
• Would you slice off the top portion of your left pinkie finger if the US Women could go back in time and beat Japan? Sure. That seems reasonable.
• Would you be willing to live in a wig wam by the Kentucky River for the next 25 years if UK could win one SEC Football Championship? Not sure. While I love winning, I also love our lowered football standards. It’s fun to cheer for a team with a fanbase that celebrates first downs like we just beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
• Would you suffer through epic hemorrhoids for the rest of your life if the United States could win the medal count at the Summer Olympics for the remainder of your lifetime? Probably. Even though the new Preparation H commercial makes it seem like having ‘roids feels like a cactus is growing into your butt, I pride myself on being a patriot. Throw in the Winter Olympics and it’s a no brainer. After some relaxing bargaining games, it’s time for the final stage.
Stage 5: Acceptance
I accept that the US Women’s National Team wasn’t the best team on the field on Sunday. That is all I am willing to accept.
I had an absolute blast watching the Women’s World Cup. Our team displayed an embarrassment of riches in personality, spirit, and athletic ability. I found the person I want to be like when I grow up: Pia Sundhage. I experienced the most excitement I’ve ever been a part of as a spectator during the Brazil game. So, we didn’t win this year. The fact that we didn’t bring home the trophy means we might get the joy of seeing a 35-year old Abby Wambach return in 2015 to try and get the victory that still eludes her (stay healthy, Abby). And the next Summer Olympics give us a chance to cheer on our team in a major international competition, again. Personally, I resisted taking any interest in soccer for about 20+ years, and this team got me to surrender to World Cup Fever. I couldn’t be more proud.
In Pia We Trust.
Observation: To assist you in moving through your stages of coping, I recommend the assistance of food. Between the hours of 4:30 and 9:00 on Sunday, I ate the following:
• Jumbo size buttered movie popcorn;
• 2 Baja Chicken Chalupas, a soft taco, and a Steak Quesadilla from Taco Bell;
• A Hot Fudge Sundae from McDonald’s;
• Four Doughnuts (2 cake, 1 glazed and 1 cruller); and
• A bowl of cereal.
When your waistband is cutting off bloodflow to parts of your body and your husband-roommate looks at you with junk food contempt, losing to Japan seems less important than trying not to throw up.